It’s official: Lane United FC will be adding a pre-professional women’s team, which will join the nascent USL W League in 2023.
LUFC, which was founded in 2013 and has competed in USL League Two (formerly known as the Premier Development League) since 2014, hops aboard the rapidly growing movement of women’s soccer not only in the US, but across the globe. The new women’s team will be in collaboration with local soccer club Eugene Timbers FC as their existing ETFC Azul team, which has competed in the Northwest Conference of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), will essentially merge to form the newly founded Lane United FC women’s side.
This venture between the two organizations fortifies their pre-existing partnership, which includes a high-level youth academy squad that competed in a pilot version of the USL Academy League in the Pacific Northwest this past summer and held training sessions in 2021. Several of those players have been called up to train and even play with Lane United FC in league and Oregon Open Cup fixtures.
Lane United FC Managing Director Dave Galas highlighted that, “We are thrilled to be taking this step with ETFC, who have successfully operated the women’s Azul team here in Eugene for many years. Working together we aim raise the bar in all capacities from level of play on the pitch, to gameday experience for the fans, and sponsor engagement.”
The LUFC women’s team, like the men’s, will play its home games at the redeveloped Civic Park in South Eugene, and compete against fellow Northwest Division founding clubs Capital FC, OVF Alliance, and Oly Town FC, with the hopes of adding another club or two before the season kicks off next year. The W League recently completed its inaugural season in 2022 with 44 teams across the country. Galas emphasized that, “The W League provides the perfect platform and provides a wonderful opportunity for talented young women to challenge themselves.”
The squad will be coached by ETFC’s Director of Coaching Jurgen Ruckaberle, who has been at the helm of ETFC Azul for many years. For his part, Ruckaberle stated that, “Eugene Timbers FC is excited to work together with Lane United FC to join the growing USL W league in the newly formed Northwest Division. ETFC will work closely with Lane United FC to allow for a smooth transition. The women’s team will have access to Civic Park, mirror the game experience of the LUFC men’s team, and will continue to compete in a National League championship.”
Stay tuned for more information about the Lane United FC Women’s Team. In the meantime, you can read the league’s press release about the formation of the Northwest Division its four expansion teams here, as well as KMTR’s segment on the story from last night here.